(House of Representatives - July 01, 1999)

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[Page H5183]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  (Mr. SHIMKUS asked and was given permission to address the House for 
1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, since the bipartisan Medicare Commission 
met, the Medicare debate has come front and center. Republicans want to 
improve the access of seniors to prescription drugs. No senior should 
have to worry about whether they can afford the medicines they need to 
stay healthy. We need to work in a bipartisan manner to solve this 
problem, putting politics aside. This issue is too important.
  The President has recently entered this debate, and we are awaiting 
bill language, but it brings up some interesting questions. What does 
the President's plan do? Does it target those most in need? Does it 
threaten the solvency of Medicare? Does it take money out of the Social 
Security Trust Fund? Who pays? Will seniors pay higher premiums? Will 
the Government set price controls? Will all Americans face higher 
taxes? Will payments to hospitals, doctors and other health care 
providers be cut? Does the plan address holistic medicine and Medicare 
fraud, waste and abuse? Will Medicare innovation be threatened? Will 
seniors be able to participate based upon their choice?
  What we need to focus on is providing drug coverage, solvency and 
choice to our seniors. That is what we will be working for.